In March of 1996, Scarlett was raising her little brood in an abandoned garage believed to be a crack house in Brooklyn. A fire broke out and firefighters arrived to put it out. As they got the fire under control, one firefighter by the name of David Giannelli noticed a calico cat laying outside the building with her young kittens. Fur singed off, paws and ears burnt, eyes blistered shut, the brave calico and had made the trip back into the building five times until she'd gotten out all of her kittens.
Touched by her heroism, the firefighter took her and her little family to the North Shore Animal League in New York. As he carefully placed them in a box to transport them, the courageous calico nudged each kitten to make sure they were all there, then collapsed.
The story of this little kitty's heroism soon spread around the world. The league received over seven thousand offers to adopt Scarlett and her kittens. At the time, I lived in Indiana and placed a call to the League to see how Scarlett was doing. I was told she'd had offers of adoption from as far away as Japan. Sadly, one of the kittens didn't make it, but the remaining four kits were adopted out to forever homes. Scarlett was rewarded for her heroism by being adopted into a family that loved and cossetted her the remainder of her days.
Scarlett died in October 2008.
Her heroism never fails to humble me. Happy Mother's Day, Scarlett.
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